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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sometimes it's really hard to say no to your kids. Sometimes, not so much.

I should have known something was a little odd when the birthday party invite came home from school on Friday and Miss8 told us the party was on Saturday, the very next day.

"No, the party is a month away," Tracey told her. This is February and the invite said the party was on the 4th of March.

"Nooooo. It's tomorrow," insisted Miss8. So Tracey rang and it was indeed the next day.

A mother a little unsure of the date, let alone her daughter's birthday, should possibly have signaled something wasn't quite right.

Now I'm tired: having a new baby in the house, even one as perfect and gorgeous as ours, zaps the patience right out of you. So maybe I'm overreacting here. You be the judge.

Because Cousin4 was also having his fifth birthday on Saturday, Miss8 and Master6 slept over at his home Friday night, meaning we had to drive out to their property to bring Miss8 back into town for her friend's party. This meant, because things are all a bit cloudy and unorganized at the moment, we were a bit late (nearly an hour?). I apologized.

"That's alright," said the mother, greeting me at the door at 11.30am with a rum in her hand. "We ain't started yet. I know the invite says we'll finish at 12.30 but you can leave her till one, or one-thirty, or two if you like."

Now I'm not saying I've never had a beer at my kids' party. In fact, it might be closer to the truth to say I've never not had a beer at my kids' party. But in the am? Plus there's usually other more responsible parents, like Tracey, in the vicinity.

"I'll be here at 12.30," I assured her. I would have stayed except I'd left Tracey and the other kids back at the property and I really needed to go get them.

When we arrived to pick Miss8 up, though, there was a problem.

"We ain't had the cake yet," the birthday girl's mother told us. "Come back in half an hour."

I dropped the family home and went back down.

"They're round 'ere somewhere," the woman assured me. She turned to her other daughter. "Are the girls out the back yard?"

"No," the older sibling said, pointing over my shoulder: that is to say, in the exact opposite direction of the back yard. "They've gone for a walk."

I'm sorry?

I spotted them a hundred meters down the road. The four young girls were hardly hidden, the way they were hogging the center of the road as they laughed and meandered away from the house.

"Just drive down and pick 'er up," suggested the woman.

I opted to bellow my daughters name instead: so furious I couldn't even turn to face the woman who had let my daughter wander off down the street while she was in charge. Not only let her wander off, but had no idea the kids were even missing.

When I later asked Miss8 where they were going she told me to the park around the corner. That would be the park, I might add, which has been featuring fairly heavily in the local rag for a recent suspected abduction attempt of a twelve year old boy.

Once she was back at the house, and having grabbed her shoes and lolly bag, Miss8 raced out of the house full to bursting with excitement.

"I can sleep over tonight!" she exclaimed.

Let me assure you, this was not one of those times when it was difficult to say no.


Unknown said...

Yeah thats a little scary. I'm all for free range kids providing there is supervision and boundaries. The mother didnt even know where they were. Will her childs face be plastered across the paper next week?

Good job being a good dad and getting her home safe.

Anonymous said...

WOW... needless to say there wont be a next time!!

Paula said...

Its such a fine line sometimes isn't it when we leave our children in strangers care.... I would have said no too!! Infact I would have probably not let her go at all!!! Im mean though :) Good work on saying no

Anonymous said...

These days with my own child I understand why my Mum ALWAYS said no to parties, sleepovers, etc, unless she could stay with us. You didn't hear much about child abuse in those days, but she had an instinct... Thanks Mum!

Vee said...

Oh hell no!!

THAT is why I stay at any party Miss6 attends!

Especially if I don't know anyone there!

That's on par with the substitute teacher not returning the class of 5 year olds to their room after computers... Ummm why does no-one know where our child is? Why wasn't the teacher informed that a change in routine to our daughter (who has special needs) would require supervision back to her class? WHY did she think it was ok to send 20 odd 5 year olds across the school on their own??
After a serving from Dad to the principal she was found on the play equipment out of everyone's view - they are damn lucky she wasn't abducted or abused!!!

Good thing you were there to stop Miss8's friends mother completely losing her!

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